As your organization prepares for cloud migration, your IT team must maintain a comprehensive view of all infrastructure components and available options for migrating each workload. The better you understand what you’re working with, the easier it is for your project planning and execution. Migrating to the cloud is a complex process, which must be customized to address the technical, functional, and operational needs of the organization. Migrating complex IT systems should be done incrementally through different stages.
To begin with your actionable cloud migration plan, you start with inventorying your systems and in-use applications. Next, you should point out which specific types of cloud migration to be applied to each item.
A successful migration strategy should address short-term aims, like decreasing hosting costs, as well as longer-term goals like better alignment between IT and business objectives.
So, what are the cloud migration types?
These are the five most commonly used approaches:
1. Re-Host (Lift and Shift)
5. Retain or Retire (Lifecycle)
These strategies are commonly referred to as “The 5 R’s of Cloud Migration”. When deciding which “R” to use, prioritize the mission-critical services for optimization and refactoring, and tackle the rest of your workloads with a simple lift-and-shift. It also can be useful to start from some lower risk non-critical workloads as a pilot test to help you refine the migration process as you get to the more critical infrastructure components.
Let's explore these five types of cloud migration.
Re-Host or Lift-and-Shift Model
Re-hosting is the most common yet straightforward cloud migration path.
You lift applications, virtual machines, and server operating systems from the current hosting environment and shift them to public cloud infrastructure without any changes.
This type of migration is easy however there is a drawback: the cloud-native features such as efficient Continuous Integration/ Continuous Development (CI/CD) automatization, monitoring systems, automated recovery, and self-healing, containerized environments, or open-source compatible services are not fully utilized. You simply re-host your application workloads in the public cloud.
This type of cloud migration can also be a starting point for large scale optimization projects or some even a move to the cloud of some legacy systems.
Re-Platform, or Lift-and-Optimize
Re-platforming involves certain optimizations to the operating system, as well as the underlying codebase hence affecting the application program interface (API) of the applications, and also some improvements made with middleware upgrade as you do with the standard lift-and-shift model.
As a result, you can leverage more cloud benefits, reshape the sourcing environment and make it compatible with the cloud, fine-tune the application functionality, and avoid post-migration work. Once you have implemented the planned adjustments and up-versioning, the application can be moved to the optimized platform and cloud servers.
In this strategy, you change the proprietary application in use for the new cloud-based platform or service. Often, that means that you drop the existing license agreement (or it expires) and go for a new platform or service in its place. For example, you may choose to switch from your legacy CRM system to a new SaaS CRM that meets your organization’s requirements better.
Refactor, or Re-Architect
The refactoring approach is the opposite of lift-and-shift migration which is driven by the desire to improve your product and services, it means that you sometimes have to re-engineer your application business logic completely and re-develop to the cloud-native version from scratch.
This cloud migration model may require extensive resources due to the increased complexity of its implementation as well as in-house expertise.
Furthermore, it allows the full use of cloud-native benefits, such as disaster recovery or containerization of the application environment. In the long run, refactoring can be more cost-efficient because these additional features have been added and prepare your environment for a scale-out architecture.
One of the most common examples of refactoring is shifting a mainframe monolithic application (for example, an online travel booking system) to microservices-based infrastructure in the cloud.
Retain or Retire, or Hybrid Model
Some components of your IT infrastructure may be retained on your legacy infrastructure. An organization may want to keep some stand-alone workloads and databases due to security issues or other constraints. For example, you may have to comply with regulatory requirements governing the locations in which certain information is stored. When categorizing the workload for this type of migration, you create a hybrid infrastructure whereby some workloads are hosted in the cloud and some workloads are retained on-premise.
When evaluating which of the “5 R’s” is right for your organization’s migration needs, keep in mind that every cloud migration is unique. These options should serve as a basis from which to develop the final strategy, which will be tailored to your specific business needs. To develop a successful migration strategy, we recommend looking at the migration process from an application-centric view rather than an infrastructure-centric one.
Cloud migration is a tall order: your migration strategy should be robust and it should help achieve key business objectives, all while being executed in agile sprints that allow you to incorporate ongoing feedback.
Here at Cloudvela, we help our clients kick-start their migration projects without losing focus on their end-point objectives and business continuity. To learn how Cloudvela can help you hit the ground running in your migration, schedule a free 1-hour consultation
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